Emancipation Day. That’s the reason taxpayers have a little extra time to file and pay their taxes for 2006, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue. This year’s deadline is April 17.
Missouri law usually requires tax returns be filed no later than the 15th business day of April. This year the 15th is on a Sunday and the 16th is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia that was signed into law two years ago.
The holiday commemorates April 16, 1862, the day Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act and ended slavery in Washington, D.C., just nine months before he delivered the Emancipation Proclamation to the rest of the nation.
Some states, including Missouri, also have an April 17 deadline for state tax returns.
“The director of the department thought it was best for taxpayers to couple with the federal tax deadline” to make the filing process easier for all parties involved, said Maura Browning, public information officer for the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Last year the department accepted about 2.8 million returns for the 2005 taxable year, Browning said. The department is expecting around the same amount this year and has only received 1.9 million, she said. That means about 900,000 Missourians have yet to file with only a few days left.
For those who haven’t filed their taxes yet, electronic filing is a time-saving option, Browning said. “We’ll be able to process electronic returns much faster than paper returns,” she said.
Electronic filing allows taxpayers to get their refund through direct deposit, which is not available through the paper returns. Another benefit of electronic filing is a significantly lower rate of error, Browning said. Only 6 percent of electronic forms have errors, while 19 percent of paper forms contain errors, she said.
Taxpayers who know they will be filing late can submit an extension through the federal Internal Revenue Service which, if granted, would apply to state returns as well.